Teacher Dawn Douglas defeated her opponent in the Democratic nomination for Florida House District 67, which covers parts of Largo and Clearwater.
Douglas, 66, took about 77 percent percent of the vote compared to dairy plant worker Tom Ryan's 23 percent. She will face Republican incumbent Chris Latvala in the Nov. 6 general election.
"I didn't expect this resounding result," Douglas said from her Largo home Tuesday night. "It gives me a lot of faith going forward. It really does."
Douglas is a language arts and reading teacher at Oak Grove Middle School and has worked for the Pinellas County school district since 2002.
Douglas has lobbied and vetted political candidates as a representative for her school in the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, the local chapter of the state teachers union. She was born in Michigan but has lived in Florida most of her life. She is divorced with two adult children.
Ryan, of Clearwater, was born in Illinois but has lived in Florida for 30 years. He made an unsuccessful run for the same seat in 2014.
Both candidates filed to run late in the game. Douglas said she entered the race because she didn't want Latvala to run unopposed. Now, she'll have the chance to run against him.
Douglas said she believes her landslide primary victory came from her work speaking in front of community groups and calling on friends for help. Her plan going forward is to enlist her teacher friends to help knock on doors in the district.“Now I have to jump into the political arena with a Republican,” she said. “Now the game really steps up.”
State representatives serve two-year terms and are paid $29,697 a year.
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